Incentives to Learn

We study a randomized evaluation of a merit scholarship program in which Kenyan girls who scored well on academic exams had school fees paid and received a grant

Michael Kremer; Edward Miguel; Rebecca Thornton


Scholarcy highlights

  • IN many education systems, those who perform well on exams covering the material of one level of education receive free or subsidized access to the level of education
  • We find evidence for positive program impacts on academic performance: girls who were eligible for scholarships in program schools had significantly higher test scores than comparison schoolgirls
  • We find no significant differences in parent education, proportion of ethnic Tesos, or the ownership of an iron roof across Busia program and comparison schools
  • We present evidence that such programs can raise test scores and boost
  • 28 The slight, though insignificant, increase in test score inequality in program schools is inconsistent with one particular naive model of cheating, in which program schoolteachers pass out test answers to their students
  • Even if we consider the Busia girls cohort 1 longitudinal sample, where the sample is identical across 2000 and 2001, there are no significant differences in test variance across program and comparison schools in either year

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